Characterization of morphological and meristic traits and their variations between two different populations (wild and cultured) of Cichlasoma festae, a species native to tropical Ecuadorian rivers
Abstract. This study was carried out to determine morphometric and meristic characteristics of two populations (wild and cultured) of Cichlasoma festae and to establish whether populations could be discriminated based on morphometric variability. Twenty-two morphometric and four meristic characters were used to test the hypothesis differentiation. Univariate analysis of variance (ANOVA) from 100 adult specimens showed significant differences (p < 0.05) for 21 standardized morphometric measurements out of 26 characters among the means of the wild and cultured Cichlasoma festae populations tested. Cross correlation amongst certain morphometric variables (i.e. body weight, total length, standard length, pre-ventral length, AC1, LC1 and P1) were medium-strong (r ≥ 0.5), while the remaining were weakly correlated (r < 0.5). The length–weight relationship parameter b and condition factor (K) values were respectively 2.21 and 1.97 (indicating allometric growth) for cultured fish groups and 2.86 and 4.07 (p < 0.05) for wild fish groups. The condition factor values were significantly different from each other and showed that feeding of cultured fish should be improved. Both groups were accurately separated (> 80 % success rate) by linear discriminant functions that included only four morphometric measures.